LA County’s ugly draft budget sets aside $100M for housing efforts

L.A. County chief executive Sachi Hamai called the process “unlike any we’ve ever faced.”

L.A. County Chief Executive Sachi A. Hamai
L.A. County Chief Executive Sachi A. Hamai

Los Angeles County approved a $35.5 billion budget for the coming fiscal year, one that is shaping up to be its most challenging yet.

The fiscal year 2020-2021 budget included $50 million in one-time funding and $100 million overall set aside for various housing efforts including supporting affordable and extremely low-income housing, rental assistance, re-housing, and home-ownership services, according to the L.A. Times.

The budget process revealed the dire shortfall that county officials see on the horizon — $1 billion in lost tax revenue by the end of the fiscal year in June and another $1 billion through the end of the fiscal year 2020-2021. Overall, the budget reflects a $600 million cut in requirements from last year.

“We are in a profoundly challenging economic environment that may get worse before it gets better,” L.A. County’s chief executive officer Sachi Hamai said in a statement.

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Hamai pointed to the uncertainty over the amount of financial assistance the county would receive from the state and federal governments.

The budget sets aside $430 million for homeless services and the county noted the pandemic’s impact on tax revenue would likely reduce the amount of tax-funded Measure H dollars available for addressing homelessness.

The county has taken up several measures designed to keep people in their homes, including what is effectively a temporary ban on evictions in unincorporated L.A. County.

The county is also using money from the federal stimulus packages and private sources to help pandemic-impacted workers make rent payments. [LAT] — Dennis Lynch